Bregman homers, Keuchel solid to help Astros over Rays 6-2
HOUSTON (AP) Despite a 10-year age gap, Astros rookies Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel are facing some of the same challenges in adjusting to the majors.
The pair showcased the skills that got them here Saturday night, combining for four hits and five RBIs to help Houston beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2.
The 22-year-old Bregman homered and had three RBIs on Saturday night. The 2015 first-round draft pick has turned the corner, raising his average to .242 after batting .053 in his first 10 games following his promotion from Triple-A on July 25.
The 32-year-old Gurriel added two doubles and collected the first two RBIs of his major league career. Playing in his fifth game, it was the first time he'd displayed the timely hitting that allowed him to pile up more than 1,000 RBIs over 15 seasons in Cuba.
''He knows how to hit and I love how calm he is in the box and really in general,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''This stage is different for him entering than it is for a 21-, 22-, 23-year-old rookie. This guy has been on the international stage for a long time and you can tell by his maturity, by his calmness and how he's going about his business.''
Gurriel was glad to contribute but knows he still has a lot of work to do.
''I played in Cuba for many, many years and got used to the way they play there. But this is different,'' he said through an interpreter. ''This is the best league in the world. So adapting to this still is a process.''
Bregman connected off fellow rookie Blake Snell (4-7) in the third inning to make it 4-0. It was Bregman's fifth homer.
''There's still a long way to go and improvements I can make, but I'm just going to continue to work at it and continue to get better,'' Bregman said.
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel (9-12) allowed nine hits and two runs in seven innings for his first career victory over the Rays. He entered 0-4 in six starts against them.
Bobby Wilson hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for the Rays, and Tim Beckham had three hits.
Snell allowed a season-high nine hits and five runs - four earned - in three-plus innings for his third loss in four starts. He exited with a bruise on his lower left leg after being hit by a sharp grounder from Marwin Gonzalez to start the fourth.
Snell didn't walk a batter after walking 13 over his last three starts. But that was about the only good news for the left-hander, who ended his streak of nine straight starts of allowing two earned runs or fewer. The streak was a franchise record for a rookie.
''I was thinking differently than what they were thinking,'' Snell said. ''I felt like they were in attack mode, swing mode, so I guess I should have been throwing more pitches out of the zone.''
Bregman's single in the fourth inning pushed the lead to 5-0.
Corey Dickerson singled with no outs in the fifth before Wilson's home run, which smashed off the wall above the seats in left field and cut the lead to 5-2.
The Rays didn't take advantage of a scoring opportunity in the sixth. Beckham singled with one out but was caught in a rundown when he tried to go to third on a single by Mikie Mahtook. Keuchel then struck out Steven Souza Jr. to end the threat.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) allowed five hits and one run in four innings for Triple-A Durham in his eighth rehabilitation start on Saturday night. Cobb's last start in the majors came on Sept. 28, 2014.
Astros: OF Colby Rasmus worked out on the field for the second straight day as he works to return after having surgery to remove a cyst in his ear Aug. 10. There's no date set for his return yet, and the Astros are trying to decide if he'll need a rehabilitation assignment before coming off the disabled list.
Rays: Chris Archer (7-17, 4.11) starts for Tampa Bay on Sunday. He's 3-2 with a 1.31 ERA in six career starts against the Astros. Two of the three complete games in his career have come against Houston, including a one-hitter at Minute Maid Park last year.
Astros: Doug Fister (12-8, 3.59) will start the series finale for Houston. Fister allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings in his last start, a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.